(WVNS) — The National Weather Service in Charleston, West Virginia will hold a statewide tornado drill for all 55 counties on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2023 at 11:00 A.M., as part of their Spring Weather Awareness Week.

This test is designed to prepare West Virginia for the upcoming severe weather season by testing equipment in a coordinated fashion across the entire state. All while giving residents and businesses the opportunity to conduct their own tornado drills or assess their own severe weather plans.

During the test, Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) may activate on some radio and TV broadcast stations. This is highly dependent on your service providers settings and the station in which you are watching. Some outlets and their equipment may disregard this drill as it will come from the NWS office as a “test” alert and not an actual event. Actual events, warnings, or watches are typically pushed through these systems automatically.

The National Weather Service states this test will also not activate the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system like you would get during an active event or amber alert since this is designed as only a test. However, depending on third-party app settings, alerts may still be pushed to your device during the test.

Counties with tornado or emergency sirens may or may not go off during this test and activating sirens is left to the decision of county or emergency management officials. However, the county will see the test come in on their equipment to confirm it is in working order.

Local school may also participate by holding their own drills for students and staff including evacuation route reviews, practicing a tornado drill in class, or reviewing county plans for such weather events.

The National Weather Service says this test is a great time to discuss your families plans for when severe weather strikes. Think about where you’ll go, what to do when away from your home or family, and utilize this time to prepare for when a test become the real thing.

In our state, the Charleston field office of the National Weather Service covers a majority of our counties but not all. This test will give those living in West Virginia but serviced by another NWS field office a chance to see if they will get emergency alerts. For our region, the NWS field office in Blacksburg, VA covers Greenbrier, Mercer, Monroe, Tazewell, Giles, and Bland Counties.

While Virginia’s Severe Weather Awareness Week and statewide tornado drill were held in February, Greenbrier, Mercer, and Monroe residents will want to make sure they are included in this test for West Virginia. This is particularly true for Ham Radio Operators and NOAA Weather Radio users in these counties who may be tuned into a NWS repeater tower or frequency outside of Charleston’s NWS offices control.

For more information on this statewide tornado drill, the National Weather Service has a helpful guide on their website including what to do if you expected to hear the test and didn’t